tv Panel Discussion on Hip- Hop and Literature CSPAN May 7, 2016 1:30pm-3:08pm EDT
and winning wisconsin would show that kind of strength throughout that entire region that would be very difficult for democrats to counter. >> host: ed morrissey, what is your day job? >> guest: i work at hotair.com, i'm senior editor. i do a, i do a twice-a-week podcast on politics and culture and also write columns for the fiscal times and for "the week." >> host: in this election season, have any of the candidates done what you're suggesting here in "going red"? >> guest: you know, i think if you take a look at the primary races so far, i think ted cruz has actually done a very good job of getting on the ground, in iowa especially, but also in texas. he knows texas very well, it's his home state. apparently, oklahoma as well. we're hearing a lot of things about ted cruz's organization that tend to make me think he's on the right track in terms of what we're talking about here. with the exception of iowa which is kind of a purple state, oklahoma and is pretty easy. these are very red states.
we don't necessarily know how he's pulling in swing voters. and, again, it's a fractured primary too. and you're only working within the republican party primary, so it's not a great analog necessarily. but the organizational level is there for ted cruz. i think might marco rubio's organization is pretty decent as well. donald trump is, of course, the variable because if the republican party in 2008 and 2012 were at the 30,000-foot level in terms of messaging, donald trump's really at the 40,000-foot level, right? he's very punchy. concepts only and doesn't necessarily offer a detailed substance behind it, but he just talks about this is my commitment, i'm going to do this, i'm going to win, make this great, and people are responding to that in the primaries. so it's interesting to see how that will work out. if donald trump is the nominee, does he switch to a ground game of the type that is described in "going red," or does he try to stay at that 40,000-foot level, 30,000-foot level and see if he
can bring in people through just sheer messaging and celebrity status alone? be an interesting test. >> host: ed morrissey's new book is called "going red: the two million voters who will elect the next president and how conservatives can win them." this is booktv on c-span2. ♪ when i tune into it on the weekends, usually it's authors sharing their new releases. >> watching the nonfiction authors on booktv is the best television for serious readers. >> on c-span they can have a longer conversation and delve into their subjects. >> booktv weekends, they bring you author after author after author that spotlight the work of fascinating people. >> i love booktv and i'm a c-span fan. >> all weekend long we're bringing you panels from the national black writers' conference featuring several authors including paul beatty, michael eric dyson, dee watkins and many more.
for a complete schedule, visit us online, booktv.org. and starting now, a panel on hip-hop and literature from medgar evers' college, host of the 13th annual national black writers' conference. this program contains language that some may find offensive. >> i'm now here representing, i'm an emcee invited here from york college. i will be associate professor in the department of teacher education, where i chair -- and i've been charged with talking to educators. and the job has to be having teachers, even some of whom who love our children, to start teaching from the love of our culture, from the love of our heritage, from the love of our soul of our children rather than judge them. that's why this particular panel so, is just so important for us.
i was in a situation, and i'm confessing because you're here, where i thought my job was, oh, hip-hop anticipate this and this was in the '80s before i grew up. [laughter] and one of these people in the audience was a hip-hop artist. and he said, well, miss, i wasn't even a doctor then. i wasn't even smart enough to know what i didn't know. he said, well, i'm a hip-hop artist, and he started to tell the story of some of what it was in, was within the words, within the messaging of the art form. and it awoke in me, it awakened me, rather. and i'm still needing to be awakened, and that's what this is for, to awaken us to the depth of an art forbe we were not early -- form we will not be able to know all of, but we can get a glimpse of where our study must be be. does that make sense?
our moderator is stuck in traffic, and you know new york, so need i say more? so when she does come, our new moderator in her place is the wonderful or, phenomenal michael -- >> [inaudible] >> miking, i thought it was a black -- i say this, you say that? >> try one more time. >> michael -- >> eric dyson! >> there's a whole -- you're going to have to help 'em out. he will be introducing each of the panelists. and then following that introduction and after they speak, there'll be time allotted for a question-and-answer period. please give a hand for -- oh, i'm sorry, hip-hop and youth culture. i'm not going to spend a lot of time reading what's in the journal that describes the elements of poetry and creative word play figures prominently in
the language of hip-hop and in the various ways youth express themselves. this panel will be discussing that. >> all right. thank you so very much, dr. barron. [applause] i'm honored, i'm honored to be john morgan for a little bit -- joan morgan for a little bit. i always wondered what it would feel like to be joan morgan, you know, with a sex change and not as brilliant as she is, but we're going to work with what we got. [laughter] these are all friends of mine. i happen to know some of the smartest people in the world. and this is just such an honor to extend this conversation that we often have offline in various fora into this particular situation. so let me introduce people who really need no introduction. to my right here, m.k. assan today. and you all know this -- that's right, give it up for him right there. [applause] best-selling author,
award-winning filmmaker, hip-hop artist and tenured professor at morgan state university. [cheers and applause] he can say what he want to say and still not get fired. [laughter] but it is a school that we know wouldn't do it anyway. he's the author of four books, and i'm holding in my hand here his memoir. he's serving at the sundance film festival now as a feature film fellow for the movie adaptation of this book, "buck." it's a brilliant book. it's a memoir. and you see how it pulls out right here -- [laughter] is that done? huh? [laughter] yeah. what'd you say? robbing negroes of ignorance. shooting you with this knowledge. anyway, he and i were in the studio, and we were spitting together. we might freestyle up in here. i'm looking at this book, it looks like a gun.
i look and i say, is this you, son? [laughter] this' just amateur. anyway, but he's a brilliant, brilliant young man, a brilliant artist, a brilliant writer. and he's presented and performed in more than 40 countries and received a key to the city of dallas. you've no doubt seen his film engaging with kwanzaa. he's a remarkable artist and a man who operates in several different genres simultaneously, really knocking down these artificial barriers between the digital, if you will, expression and articulation of knowledge, the sonic articulation of knowledge and the literary one. so we're honored to have him here today.
>> that stuck to my mind. you know, method man. [laughter] so -- [applause] some of the greatest artists ever, ghost face killer and the like. she is a professor in the department of african and african-american studies and founding director of the hip-hop archives and research institute at hutchins center for around can and african-american american -- african and african-american research at harvard university. that's right. she's at the big h, right? [laughter] he bringing hip-hop to harvard, son. [laughter] [applause] y'all think y'all got lyrics, we leave you in hysterics. but she earned both her b.a. and m.a. degrees at the university of illinois in chicago. she also earned an m.a. in linguistics at the university of essex, england, and her ph.d. through the graduate school in education at the university of pennsylvania. a very well-regarded authority in linguistics and race and
culture and identity, social linguistics to be more specific. and she's an author of many works in those fields. her books include the real hip-hop, battling for knowledge, power and respect in the underground, and speech communities that was published in 2014 by cambridge university press. is she's currently launching projects for the hip-hop archive web site and harvard's lowe music library on the classic crates: archive of 200 of the most influential hip-hop albums. man, 200, huh? yeah, we going to have to talk about that today to see what's up on that list. see what they got up in there. did future make it, or is kendrick lamar dominant? we gotta find out. i want to understand what's happening in hip-hop culture now with the kind of dissonance, the kind of blews aesthetic -- blues aesthetic that is pervasive.
the kind of inspired, nas-embraced, monotone expression. but i want the find out what that's about. and finally, dr. james pettersson. certainly one of the most brilliant, as i said earlier, younger scholars here in america on hip-hop and on literary production. he's the director of africana studies, an associate professor of establish at lehigh university. you see him on msnbc throwing it down, you know, wrestling with these people, taking the switch to bears and beating 'em. and he's the founder of hip-hop scholars, an association of hip-hop generational scholars dedicated to researching and developing the cultural and educational potential of hip-hop, urban and youth cultures. he's also been a journalist, you've read many of his essays in magazines and in newspapers where he's trying to articulate ideas that are of interest to the broader public. he's written about the
underground as we've already indicated. also his book that will be published soon about, you know, headphones, and then his book on the prison industrial complex. but, you know, a gifted and wonderful scholar. all of them, of course, are. and we're going to have a wonderful and rich conversation. i want to start with dr. morgan. you know, some people think that hip-hop archive is an oxymoronic statement in the sense that what's being archived might not be high culture -- high, right? -- what's being archived is not worthy of a legacy of literacy that would perpetuate its presence and influence into the next decades and, indeed, arguably into the next century. so tell us the logic behind at one of the most elite9, if not
most prominent, centers of learning in the western world. that at the heart of that institution, you have marked it in a memorable and ineradicable fashion with the power, the insight and the intelligence of predominantly young black creators who could never darken those ivy walls in terms of test scores, but whose lyrics are now studied by the smartest scholars we've produced? [laughter] >> well. all right. >> yeah, right? >> you know, i -- >> pull the mic up to her. >> thank you. you know, first of all, thank you so much for saying that and putting that that particular way, because i think what happens especially when you start a career, i was listening to james talk about the linguistic conference we were at.
linguistics is an elite field, and by elite i mean there's really nobody there. [laughter] and so you know everybody, you know? there's just a small segment, section of people. and they spend most of their time like this just, you know, really studying system. and i am a system kind of person. i really can notice when people say something and are meaning something else and the different layers that you need to know to do that. i mean, i grew up on the south side of chicago in a very vibrant black community of art and culture and music. and so you had to listen, pay attention, all these things, or you're going to miss what was really going on. so the whole concept of what's really going on becomes really, really important. so i grow up automatically thinking we must be the most creative, most intelligent people on the, in the world. because we understand our families, you know? who are very complicated, very
well educated, often self-educated. smartest people in the world, you know? we used to have us kids a category called smartest people in the world, and they were all coiz sins. [laughter] so -- cousins. so when you come out of that kind of environment and then you go into institutions, all you can think is, oh, they don't know. you know? they don't get it. and at a certain point you begin to think about the power of those institutions to stop you. to hurt you. to break you. to challenge you. it's that sort of background that sort of puts, put me in a position when i decided to do linguistics to be very interested in what we understood about, you know, speech, interaction, ideology, philosophies of african-american communities, african diasporan
communities, african cultures. because all these were studied by ohs, right? -- others, right? outside of those contexts. and we're taught this is what we know about how we really mean, how we intend, how we communicate. and that this is the law. these are the rules on this. and when you realize they don't know, they actually don't know. think they know, don't know. and so as you given to work in that capacity, you develop a real sense of i am not going to be stopped by their ignorance. but i also have a responsibility to do the job, do the work. and it's not easy, and it's not pretty all the time, you know, if you really look back at my career, you know? there have been some really, really, incredibly rough times. but the key is that when you're
around young people especially and they're being incredibly creative, incredibly supportive of each other, it is not hike in a classroom -- like in a classroom where you're dealing with, you know, i say something, you say something back. i say something, you say something back. it can feel chaotic, but it is an incredibly powerful learning environment. and my interest became how do we really make sure that keeps happening. we want to keep turning that on, never let it turn off. never let anybody take it down. and as we, i began to more and more look at the material people were giving me and talking about, it became even more important for me to keep going irrespective of what people didn't understand. i didn't think they hated hip-hop or anything like that. everybody in the beginning hated hip-hop who was old, okay? [laughter] all right?
everybody did, okay? they just didn't get it. that was always -- you didn't get it. and so that's how it becomes the archive. let's call it something they value as a name and make them have to deal with it right up front. it's not like the collection or something like that. and there were a group of very young people who worked with me on what to call it, how to do it, etc., to make sure it kept the sense of really about hip-hop and not about my needs as in a job or whatever. and they're the ones who are, like, let's call in archive -- call it an archive. let me just one more thing before we have joan take over. hip-hop kids, especially in the beginning, collected everything, okay? you think about the piece books, you think about all these things that mattered that they saw as
being part of -- i mean, they couldn't articulate it at this point, but it's the culture they were building. and so you had this material culture, and anyone who's an anthropologist knows you don't throw away material culture. you're like, oh, look what's happening. you begin to see the patterns and the beauty and development of it. so that's how it became clear to me that it belonged in this world, because it's serious. and it's about us. and it's something we should take seriously. [applause] >> hi, everybody. i'm joan morgan. i actually am the panel's moderator and very grateful to be that. my apologies for being late. if any of you are -- speaking of hip-hop, home of the bronx, it is also my home and very difficult to get to brooklyn if there is no 5 train running. [laughter]
i had to uber here, and it took a minute. it took three ubers and a minute, but that's a whole other story. so i'm not -- thank you. [applause] thereby. >> you know, in this panel is full of folks that i have worked with, and if i haven't, i admire and hope to work with at some point. so i'm not even sure where we are. i know you just it should speaking. >> that was the first question. >> first question, okay. >> yeah. so -- >> joan, can i add one piece to the archive? >> you can -- absolutely. >> drsm morgan is being very humble in her discussion of what the archive is and what it means. and it's really important to know folks like dr. morgan laid out a certain foundation for younger scholars to be able to
follow. and it's so interesting to see how this has developed over time. at first it was dr. morgan, you know, supporting graduate students. i don't even know if we can keep count of the number of graduate students that have harvard -- [laughter] but to think about how that has evolved over time is amazing so that now the archive has resources to support artists, to bring in scholars who are nontraditional, to work around certain themes that are important to the hip-hop generation and important to our community. i mean, you have evolved the resources at the archive over -- i don't know exactly how long it's been around, but it's over a decade. and you have helped and shaped and informed the careers for, at least by my count, scores of scholars in almost every discipline across the pantheon of the academy. and now even folks who we think of as being scholars even outside of the academy. so there is important
professional work, important mentorship and important platforming for younger scholars that the archive has done under your leadership and under -- [applause] >> thank you. there's also now a hip-hop archive at cornell. so the idea has had some traction -- >> yes. >> and, you know? emulation is a good thing, right? >> my heart goes out to anyone who ever wants to do that, because it's really hard to keep that kind of thing going and do it. and i really am so proud of everyone and, you know, just happy to see as people keep pushing on this. >> you know, james, can i ask a question? >> yeah, yeah. [laughter] >> you know, the panel we're talking, we're doing some decoding, so we're talking about the links between hip-hop and literature. but i also wanted to expand it
somewhat to the idea of hip-hop being in the academy as a form of scholarship and making different disciplinary inroads. but i also wanted to really talk about that relationship that it had early to journalism. and so i was wondering if you could talk to us a little bit about the back and forth between hip-hop journalism, actually, as a form and what we see now in terms of hip-hop scholarship. >> sure, absolutely. you know, i think it's pretty safe to say that early on the relationship between hip-hop journalism and hip-hop scholarship was really tight. i don't think it's as tight now as it was early on. you know, we were reading the -- as young folks who were consuming hip-hop in that first generation, one of the things that was not marked well enough was how deeply influenced and inspired we were by the young journalists that were writing at that time. that's joan morgan, dream
hampton, bones malone. there's so many folks. but they were writing across a number of different platforms. this was back in the day when magazines were still really popular, people went out and bought magazines on a regular basis. but i can't tell you how joan's writing or how dream's writing influenced me as a thinker and as a scholar. what happens in hip-hop is that there are a lot of discourse communities, as dr. morgan talked about, within hip-hop culture. so there are a lot of people in barbershops and at homes or clubs, wherever, who sit around and talk about hip-hop. and there's a lot of folks, you know, there are a lot of stock conversations; who's your favorite rapper, favorite producer? the regional conversations. those conversations, i think, are amazing, and they're incredible conversations to have. there are a lot of different hip-hop public spheres in which those conversations occur. but what the hip-hop journalists were doing very early on is they were engaging in a level of sophisticated discourse that was both impressive and inspiring, and it was also poetic and beautiful.
and so it gave young folks who were officionados of the culture -- not artists, but people who loved the culture -- a sense of how deep and how far you could go in thinking and talking and writing about it. so i think that made us, you know, that made us -- that made the partnership between journalists and scholars a little bit before. and joan, you already know this, but i am really now as i'm getting older, i'm really invested in the relationships that we're able to build to help other folks in the academy, to help younger scholars. i've worked with everyone on this panel. dr. morgan was on my dissertation, by the way. this is another great story. i'm writing this dissertation, right? on hip-hop at penn. and penn is a very traditional english department. and this is, like, you know, clutch time, right? i've finished it, i've turned it in. dr. morgan's at harvard, the first person to sign my
dissertation, right in and that puts pressure on the department, on other folks. hey, if this brilliant harvard scholar with the archive has signed -- [applause] we have to sign. and i lament a little bit the loss of the relationship between journalists and scholars, because as we're starting to sort of grow up in the academy, we can leverage resources to support other folks, you know? so when mk calls and is like, yo, man, i'm coming to do the philadelphia free library -- can you come? yes, i'm coming to do that. when people call me to try to build that network, i'm invested in it. i hope that we can recover some of that, you know, that historical relationship between the hip-hop journalists and hip-hop scholars. >> okay. mk, so one of the things i'm excited to hear you talk about because, you know, you actually spin, you perform and you write. it's hike this perfect -- like this perfect merger -- >> triple threat. >> so hip-hop definitely informed, i mean, my book was about hip-hop, but just the
style and the musicality and lyricism of hip-hop really impacted chicken heads. i had to listen to beats before i wrote. there's the reason the prose flows a certain way. you're nodding your head, so i know you know what i'm talking about. [laughter] and i just want you to talk to us about it x this is so incredibly hot, like, my god. >> oh, word. that's what's up. thank you, joan. what's up, everybody? how y'all feeling? good, that's what's up. thank you to the distinguished panel. everybody up here. i researched even before this panel, i've known about them, i've read their work, i've studied them. thanks, shout out to dr. michael eric dyson for being joan morgan for a second. [laughter] he said he always wanted to be you -- [laughter] live from the flames of baltimore, what you call this, you don't call it war.
tanks in my hood, no aquarium, no thanks, ain't scared of 'em. buzz cuts and humvees hunt me bluntly because i be the color of blunt leaves. black life, we on that month-to-month lease. so we burn this bitch, wake up, shoot a scene like -- she just earned this dick. steaks up, memoirs of earnest kid. unforgettable, i'm super un-- [bleep] no assurance even with the same visuals. we hype when they indict slavers. and i get paid in miracles. don't get paid because they aim subliminal. supermax and minimals. so much death on my turf, we got mega hurts, and i'm so used to pain, i think i'm so better hurt. we learn how to play bar with a hanger. they used to cut your balls off when they hang ya. balls like these already
endangered. bulletproof the range, really in danger. out to range dog, mesopotamia, with my young boys rearranging my anger, indy 500 on a system of banger. up early with the sunrise, george jackson, blood in my eyes. make the school cry. on some other shit like boarding the mother ship. kill the ads, dust the fake governments. send congress to the same place my brother went. chain gang, hellbound, state penitentiary. we militant. nobody break up fights, too busy filming it. anyway, what's up, y'all? how y'all doing? [cheers and applause] like, for me, you know, for me i totally could relate to what joan is saying. everything about the musicality and the rhythm. it's so important, you know? i mean, it literally, it's everything to me, rhythm, you know what i mean? like, my mom is a dancer,
choreographer. i grew up around the drums, i grew up around that energy. so my brother's an emcee, my pop is basically an emcee. [laughter] you know what i'm saying? >> yeah, he is. >> so, you know, that's very important to me. when i write, when i write, i listen to -- i'll tell you a quick little story that's interesting. when i write, i always listen to music. and i usually listen to -- "buck" is my fourth book. i usually listen to, like, movie soundtracks, you know what i'm saying? just to get that, you know, but when i was writing "buck," i couldn't really listen to the movie scores like that because it was too fast-paced, the book, the story, everything i was trying to illustrate was too -- it didn't move like a movie score. it moved really like a beat or something, you know what i'm saying? so i ended up started listening to a lot of hip-hop instrumentals when i was writing buck.
and as i was writing, i was writing, you know, the book, the memoir, and that was very musical. and i wrote about something called hip-hop due relates, and that's basically the involuntary walking down the streets, you just spit some lyrics, you know what i'm saying? [laughter] and basically everybody in here under a certain age has that. you can't avoid it, you know what i mean? and so anyway, i started writing, like i've always been a poet, but i started writing these lyrics on the side that were definitely not -- they weren't really poems, they were definitely bars, you know what i'm saying? and i didn't know why i was writing them, they always talk about preparation meets opportunity. so it's amazing i'm here. we have dr. green, shout out to dr. brenda green. [cheers and applause] .. a filmmaker,
definitely not a wrapper. when i say not a wrapper, it was a my thing. i was a poet so an mc already but didn't really know it. i was writing lyrics on the side and get a crazy call one day from doctor green's son. at this point in time i don't know them. they hit me up, we got this song called gods in the hood. we want you to say something on it, like smart professor type stuff. you know? my friend asked me who was going to be here later, i told him, i said they sent me this song, he was one of the only people who
knew preparation meets opportunity. i was writing all these rhymes and ready to battle people and everything. i told my boy they want me to talk on it so my boy's ego, you want to spit on that? you don't understand. they want me to talk on it like a professor. my man is like you are going to spit on that? you know, like 100 songs later, here we are. i had a moment, been traveling, learning from him, studying, making music, making a lot of songs, doing videos. one of the quotes that inspired me was a quote that said the best form of critique is creation. if you want to know what i think
about hip-hop listen to my songs. that is the way i see it. >> i love that. the best form of critique is creation. especially because there is a whole brand of self-proclaimed cultural critics and scholars who can see a lot of things and create nothing. so that might be a facebook post. >> after that. the african proverb. >> west african proverbs. >> one of the things i wanted to do before switching over to q and a, this question is difficult, of where does hip-hop
fit in where we think of a canon of african-american literature. you already know this, i like to think because i have always positioned hip-hop as a black artform with heavy roots in the caribbean. you can't deny that but i am wondering, does this question actually even serve us, to constantly want to find out where hip-hop fits into literary tradition of african-american literature or is this something that needs to be archived and thought of and stand in its own space. >> for me my life's work is so
far, the interface between african-american literature and rap music. i believe in the continuity and consistency of things, i believe the artists of hip-hop culture come out of a black expressive tradition. it is interesting to look at a certain point, my favorite rappers, a brother who spent time in brooklyn, when you listen to his music, you see hip-hop is a reverse effect, where he is collecting a lot of different experiences and themes and sound and culture, bringing it to -- for me that relationship is strong.
it doesn't mean hip-hop can't stand on its own because it does and it can and it will. i have to be careful in my own work to not try to use black and richard to legitimate rap music, they can be separate entities. but there is a rich heritage between what rappers are doing as poets and writers and great writers and poets have done before. one of the examples i always point to in the classroom is we wear the mask which is published in 1896, a collection of poems called the lyrics of the lowly. so important to this discussion, don't want to get too deep into but there was a huge conflict in his career in writing in standard english versus black vernacular. a poem does both and that poem is speaking to these deep issues, subverting hierarchical structures, wearing a mask in
the face of white violence and white supremacy, 1996, the most successful, 15 million copies sold, a song called the mask, in that song you have a lot of different situations where they have to wear the mask and subvert the power structure so that poetic continuity, it is important to understand teaching tools. i am invested in that as a scholar even though i want those forms, black literature and black writing and hip-hop and rap music to be autonomous i also believe they are inextricably linked as well. >> i come at this from the perspective of social linguist linguistic anthropologists.
when you begin in those fields, what are the things you look at, the relationship between languages and language families and this whole idea of where did this language come from? what are the influences of different languages? if you have my interest at the time, in particular, have to say led to slavery in the caribbean, look what happened in africa, look what happened in the south, what is plantation slavery like, how do you build these communities, what do we see absolutely that came from the african continent that is still there versus all the different groups especially out of europe, irish in particular who were indentured at a particular point and people who end up overseers.
it is the history through language, like what does language contact mean? it means death. someone is trying to take over, destroy you, bury you, who you wonder. when you think about that the first time you hear someone say, you are like i am going over there. what you realize is it is the diaspora, and what country are you from, what country? and i won't to my dna even though i could because the french are really into that, but i have a family who doesn't want you to know everything so it is just like that is part of the
experience and when you then look at what is happening and what has happened historically throughout the development and growth of hip-hop what you see is continuation of that. all the junk, everything else clouding things, some of it is really fun by the way and you see this clear -- the drum remains. this is who we are, what we are figuring out and what we are figuring out, what we are doing in terms of creativity, the narrative, getting at what happened as hard as it is and as beautiful as it is and as painful as it is, it is about us and because it is about us and what we have been through, that is what everybody gets throughout the world, everyone is like that is ours.
where is yours? let's get this together. so i think this notion of diaspora from my perspective especially from my discipline is like yeah, yeah, it is the norm, yes, i study african-american english but i understood it because i look at discourse interaction in some african language, because i understood the development of creole, pat why, whatever, i cannot understand what is happening here if i didn't understand what happened there. it is all in the mix. >> thank you. >> in any habitat, i could pin a novel or battle rap, changing mind like a matter of fact, put me on track, strapped with black on black, and in the vote, saddam hussein's vote spoke,
born of revolt, your insults provoke, and pouring with your hope, in the morning, the post, rebound, i am close, i will be doing the most. for me, this is a deep conversation. i was born in zimbabwe. zimbabwe is wrong. and my parents are african-american. i grew up in philly. had an interesting -- africa is a very special place to me. i grew up in an african centric household, but you know, i grew up in uptown philly, and you
have a lot of different influences. one of the things that is interesting to me i always felt like connective tissue because my friends the way they thought about africa and the way africa was portrayed and what i had known about it, what i had seen, a lot of countries, i was talking to my uber driver on the way over, i have been to 20 african countries. i always feel really connected to the motherland and when i learned about africa going to africa like literally, that being his revelation in terms of hip-hop, going to africa, the zulu nation, renaming his or her organization, when i learned about the etymology of the word
hip, is hippie, to open one's eyes as a term of enlightenment and the etymology of hop is bring forward into action so hip-hop is enlightened action, and enlightened movement and those are the things that have inspired me in terms of language and linguistics. i have always known hip-hop had the dough post poetry. when i went to lafayette college as -- >> lafayette and lehigh. >> now i am not even -- and when i went there, i got traditional classical european contemporary poetry and at first okay, it is going to be, i am going to let
it be something, have all these books and all of this has to be like watching a movie and waiting and it is like this doesn't happen and what happened? so that moment, the whole time i am thinking camera, cam, these poets we are reading, like lyrically, not on the tip but we break down the triple entendre, the plunge, the wordplay is a different level and i started to appreciate what we do. it is so underappreciated. we talk about it is underappreciated on the level we are talking about. we talk about the genius, the brilliance of the language in the lyrics and what is going on. we haven't even studied it yet.
we produce so much. i'm saying we in terms of hip-hop has produced so much, there are cats that haven't been looked at and their work is unbelievable the level it is on in terms of language and the level of sophistication it is operating on. and you have to spin it. when i was in college studying these great poets and i am like not even moved by what i am reading but on top of that they are not even spitting it. i go to the event and they tell me this is the greatest poet, whatever, go to an event, it is so -- it is boring.
i started, sweeping, underappreciated and one other thing, this inspires me about hip-hop. i told you how they came and got me. that is hip-hop. i never experienced more love than hip-hop, never experienced more -- doctor michael eric dyson, me and him, the best moment we had was freestyle, that was me and him went somewhere that day and it would take me 1000 conversations to get there with you and we would be free around each other but we are not talking in terms of love, the sense of having a
comrade. i am in academia too and i am in literature and all this stuff, literary people don't want to work with you, or hangouts, and spark it up with you. that is not in the culture of academia and literature. in hip-hop you work together, you know what i am saying? you collaborate. everybody is not -- it is not -- in general the sense of collaboration is every day we are collaborating with people, everyday people come in and out with ideas, it is a very lovely experience and the farther i go into hip-hop especially with music, the harder, to be honest with you, this is the first time i explained this.
i have been writing so much music and doing so much music it becomes harder -- the thing that is so beautiful about hip-hop, shaking the block, better to run, better -- if i start in a wrap, i don't have to explain myself. you know what i am saying? if i say runaway slave running from the grave, ran from being saved, say i was wondering why you run it, and chase something. and they get at you and make this a lot. and shaking the block, better to burn in iraq. i have been running my whole life, the color of midnight so when i pull the pin my brothers come and little to the right,
philadelphia raising and crazy, rocks in the system, shut off and praise the lady and land and if i do that it is like you can listen and understand and if you don't understand you will go in your own time and all that stuff. when i write an essay like that i feel more and more like i am writing this. is frustrating. the way hip-hop is set up is different because you have independent labels and structure, but in publishing it is a little different because you want to work with publishers and get your stuff out there but at the same time, i want to communicate it in a way i want to communicate. i feel hip-hop is free. and if i can explain what
hip-hop is, it is like i feel i have to explain what hip-hop is because you know what i am saying? that is the thing. anyway, that was all over the place but i have so many thoughts. >> started to talk about the novelist and the writers coming out of hip-hop generation, tsa lehman who is not with us today. there are writers like yourself, the hip-hop generational folks and we are seeing that. another one great there. a lot of writers coming out of the hip-hop generation, fiction and nonfiction who are doing incredible work. >> absolutely. this is a really good point. this is a great point to devote a q and a but before we do that,
i want to give some love to the memory of one of the best lyricists, strongest mc ever to do it. you know. [applause] >> i think what we had earlier was wonderful synergy, really true connections with the artists you were writing about. i could write about it, i did many times. i could write about it but when i am writing about my own self, it is largely about this community that is different from academia. very individualistic. so questions.
don't be shy. come up to the mic. >> it is crazy because hip-hop seems so individualistic but it is not. academia is so -- >> it is not. >> i want to say thank you to everybody up there. appreciate the knowledge that i have gotten so far. my question, we are here talking about hip-hop and the impact on the culture and i was taking notes, something james said earlier, the tip of the iceberg a lot of times is misogynistic but under that, you get the art, the things you can teach. so i came out here from sacramento for the conference. [applause]
>> i came out here, invited by doctor green, working on writing my first book, a rapper and a poet, even as a rapper, like you know this as a rapper when i write things that are conscious, i know before i put it out that people my h.r. not even going to listen to it because it is something conscious or whatever but when i started writing my book it is the same thought. most people my age don't read books so last night i was having a conversation, somebody told me if you are writing a book, the younger generation, middle school, and high school in town,
and i want fat, but my question, what do you do, what is your opinion on targeting my age group, i want to save the people my age in my community, i know they don't read. >> they don't read yet, you know what i am saying? when i do that, i hate to read. a kid who doesn't like to read probably hasn't been exposed to the right books. a lot of bs they give you in school. your opinion of reading is based on the thing is i understand where you are coming from and the reason, i want to answer your question just because they are listening and reading way
more than you think. does make the assumption your peers aren't listening to you or listening to your music. make your music hot is the first thing. aesthetic, too many artists think just be conscious is enough. it is not. got to make music. what producers are you working with? the music element is important. same thing we are writing. just because you have something to say, you have to figure out how to say it in a way that is beautiful or poetic or powerful or mastering the craft is important but it is a false assumption to assume they won't listen. lauren hill when she came out with miss education, it was like what happens when you drop projects like that you change the course of where we are going. [applause]
>> i agree with what you are saying, not to make assumptions people give us that are not actually true but one of the challenges with young people in terms of reading is we don't provide enough opportunities to read things that make sense and are pertinent to the manned opportunities for them to discuss what they are reading. one of the great things about reading good literature is talking about it with other folks and sharing that experience and we have got great writers doing it. there is an incredible amount of shadow shaper which all the young people need to read. the protagonist is a young woman, an amazing character with this incredible vivid depiction of new york city and what i realize is are we getting this into the curriculum of young people, this should be read all over new york city, all over the city, it is about new york but
even -- is there any place to talk about it? the way you get people excited about literature is to situate it in a discourse community. anyone who has been part of a reading club book club or any of the classrooms, what is exciting about literature is being able to talk about it. not only do we not talk about the right stuff for young kids but the opportunities to engage. >> i will say something quickly but ask people to keep their questions short because there are quite a few people and panelists are 6 things, i want to say to the young man, don't get so caught up in audience and genre. one of the things i know is he was a novelist for an adult novelist for a long time, young adult is a really vibrant genre,
much more sophisticated than it used to be. a lot of adults by young adult and read it so produce the best piece of work you can, and worry about how you are going to market and get it out after but do the work first. >> i was going from side to side. >> my name is sean. what was the best part of researching literature for you guys? >> what was the best? >> about researching. i am interested in hip-hop myself. you guys have been in the field longer. >> so many things were exciting to me about it. the first thing was the linguistic piece of it. what was exciting was working sort of in the world of social
linguistics, the way to speak is an incredible phenomenon. when i started to read black literature is a graduate student i realized there was an amazing complicated way people were trying to represent black speech on the page. this crazy history of racist people trying to use how black people speak to indicate a certain intelligence and all these smart folks who were trying to use the incredible intelligence of it so literally a war going on beneath the surface overrepresentation of black folks through black language and that is happening in black literature. for me that made me realize hip-hop was the next frontier of that battle. because the way i was growing up, rap music and hip-hop was my entire world in terms of my own identity. i was drawn to the battles going on over black intelligence
through black language and literature and hip-hop. they are not readily accessible unless you are a nerd like me spending a lot of time, how black speech is represented on the page or studying social linguistic features, it was exciting to me because i realize stakes were so high. >> a number of things associated with language in particular, i love celeb revocation and different styles and people use long vowels, you know they are probably from the south or la, and short vowels and you expected to come here but when you hear snoop do it, he is driving like this, and all of that becomes alive and looking at it, if you look deep they
capture regions, all aspects of identity and important kinds of issues and ideas absolutely off the hook so when you really look at it, it is like we are good. >> next question? >> i want to say something real quick. to me, the word that did it for me, you say john a lot. it could be anything, person, place or thing. the conversation could be with the young john down the street, and you could have a conversation like that and when i started to realize that was connected to the fact that black
people came here to america from all different countries. in nigeria they speak 400 languages so we came to america speaking all these languages. how do you survive in america when the same person teaching you language, how do you survive. the way to survive, you have to learn to freak it. when i say when somebody says you escaped the plantation, that is bad, the white people here that, the slave master says that, you know what i am saying? we all know what that means. that got me inspired by that. >> next question? you were saying when you are writing in standard english you
have difficulty, i have the same issue, i was born to hip-hop, the first thing i do, i never use it that much because i stood by poetry. i became an english major because i never used to like it, i felt nobody would understand me, there was hip-hop but i saw the connection and approaching that. i find myself not writing that because i am still thinking of writing in standard english and how do you handle it? >> that is a great question. i want to clarify it is not really -- i wouldn't say it is a standard english dilemma. it is a dilemma of when i talk to you and i don't have to explain myself. when i talk to you i have to
explain myself because things you are assuming about where you are publishing the peace and things like that, very different energy, that is what mrs. with me. one thing i have always been inspired by is people are multilingual. one of my heroes spoke a lot of actual languages but that idea of being multilingual, the more you do it, the more you write poetry it is going to be hard. continue to write the essays, do it continue to do it. the more you do it, it will become, i remember those struggles and for me i write a wrap and have to work on a film or something like that or some other writing and i could move in those spaces more fluidly so continue to do it. and officially talk in those language becomes more easy. >> could i say something
quickly. one of the things sometimes you want to write something in the form they ask you to write it in you can't take that way, your tongue won't move, your pen won't move. the form, if i need to put a poem in the middle of an essay a couple bars of poetry i will do that and stand behind it because i believe in the work, use the form that makes the most sense and teach your reader to open themselves up. >> that is great. i will also add that writing in bars or verse is not easier than essay form. i don't think one form is easier than the other. writing is like bleeding. the equivalent literally of bleeding. if you want to be a good writer, no matter what format you are talking about, you have to
write. at style in my bedroom says writers write. if i am a writer, every day when i get up that is what i have to see and that is how you get better. there are no shortcuts, nothing easier than anything else. we are talking about writing in different forms and different expectations, but writers write and writing is hard. it takes a lot of time, energy, patience, love, and practice. that is how you become a good writer. >> next question? >> good evening, good afternoon. my name is 0. i represent a corporate guys, stands with delivering information, teaching and building, i stand behind every letter meeting i am doing everything involved with that.
beings that now i am educating children and working in schools in brooklyn. i am finding out young children who now have access to media devices, they are empowering the people trying to destroy them. i am finding it is becoming very difficult to try to teach them the right way to do something when they see the wrong way is getting a reward. my question is physically to indicate i am trying to get to where prevention levels are. my answer to this is literally take these 2 war. we have to call them to task,
they are being held as heroes in our community by youth. we can't allow them the whole disposition. brother eric dyson said something about drink earlier, 0 to 100 real quick. this get stuck in the kids's head. when you go from 0 to 100 real quick you are not thinking about your actions. we have to stop getting it into our kids. >> i have a different opinion about where we are in hip-hop. what we are experiencing, hip-hop is a resurrection of hip-hop. the principles hip-hop was founded on, the hip-hop a lot of people in this room grew up on has returned in a strong and powerful way. the young people, we have always -- you are always going to have various influences but what i am seeing in hip-hop right now is a
return to lyricism, so many real mcs like real generations, that is one thing, return to consciousness. whether it is kendrick at the grammys or coal or bill smart, or a protest song or beyoncé doing the thing, there is a return to consciousness in our culture especially young people, at least 100 new rappers that are young, lyrical, conscious and bring a whole new energy in hip-hop. i don't believe going to war with people is a good idea for me. i think the idea is to praise the people and celebrate the people upholding values you talk about. it is not like attacking people but we don't elevate.
you say brooklyn. a bunch of mcs in brooklyn your students don't know about, you have to expose your students to them. let's expose them to all the mcs in brooklyn who wouldn't hear about unless exposed to a teacher like you so it is about exposing them to others and let them make a decision like after they hear that, they did the work. we are not creating robots, creating thinkers. let's expose them and let them make the choice. they will make the right choice because you are exposing them. the same with me. i was riding the other day and this was a crazy moment. when i was young, i was really -- the other day i was driving and my friend never heard this particular song. i started to remember how this
song begins, i think i tweeted i love that. as soon as i was exposed to them, as soon as i heard be healthy and i am african, i wasn't the same anymore. i can go on with a lot of examples so my challenge was exposure. >> also dealing with technology. we need to teach them to be more literate in the media they are consumed, they are going to be -- you won't stop that. got to give them tools to discern that and interpret that and think critically about it. >> full disclosure we have 9 minutes and 29 seconds. we have a lot of brilliance up here. let's go, let's try to get it
through. >> so very quickly i am another person, doctor morgan was the chair of my district. there are black phds all over this country that have nothing to do with hip-hop but all supported by the archives, very modest but deserves respect for what she has done with black academia. i do have a question about black women writers specifically black women as poets and mcs, we were talking about lauren hill and how it was inconceivable when this education came out that i could look forward to today and there would be so few successful women mcs. i'm interested in your thoughts about what -- not just how literature -- what hip-hop has done for the spoken word movement and for white people in the spoken word movement and
where that leaves black women because so many gifted black women who can't get deported with hip-hop culture perform within the spoken word movement but they don't get the attention and respect so how do i bring more women mcs especially those gifted with their literary skills into respectability or attention within hip-hop culture? >> i wish people would support the women mcs doing incredible work, people like scott, there are women doing great work, making records and music video, people don't support them and i mean pay for their music. so that is the first step, can we support these incredible women rappers who are out here? a lot of spoken word poets, that is a different scene that
requires a different strategy in terms of support but in terms of hip-hop there are incredible young women making incredible music and it is not all music about exploiting or leveraging their sexuality, some of these women are making conscious music, some of them making every day music but for whatever reason they don't get the same support but for me it is about making sure my students, not me personally, supporting those artists and i wish every time we had a conversation about where the women are, the take away is go out and support women dedicating their lives, not making a lot of money, to making incredible music and two of my favorites, rhapsody's, how many music videos, people don't go out en masse, she is a grammy winner. we need to support the women out there. >> we should stop using the word
conscious because it doesn't disturb us, the complexity and nuance and poetry. and bad for marketing and and happens to be eliminating, what is calling it that, put it in a box, and tuned out to it. that is a suggestion for all of us. there is no excuse for it. i blame almost all of it, men in hip-hop, not doing anything to change this. rhapsody is great. he put her out there. how many artists are doing things and addressing it
directly? they are just moaning and taking advantage of it. they are benefiting from this and can change it. they can actually do that and we need to put more pressure on them to do that. >> i will ask everyone because we only have 5 minutes, say your question at the mike. i will end with you. you have a comment and i will ask our panelists one question and respond. only one panelist will respond to the question. yes? >> i have a question about the bridge between literary academia and the hip-hop aspect was i finished my senior thesis on hip-hop and i'm the only black
person in my department. when i submitted my original thesis on how hip-hop has changed over time and we accumulated a lot of cultural appropriation and white artists in hip-hop and as i had to meet with my advisor i found myself having to explain so much more, it was about hip-hop history as opposed to what i originally wanted. i got an a anyway but i feel like you always end up writing yourself into a corner, i don't know, i don't know what to do about that. >> your question is what to do about doing the work you want to do and having to negotiate? thank you. >> i would like to thank all the panelists for their input but this is particularly for mk asante. i am a high school english teacher, at a transfer school.
my goal is to blur the lines between classroom and community and i found your book and fell in love with it, you brought it into the classroom and my students fell in love with it. i would like to invite you to our classroom to speak to our students because i think they would get so much out of it. >> do it. >> next question. >> i appreciate that. >> more a question, brief comment. a copy of your book, i thank you for sharing your story with the younger generation. >> i appreciate it. thank you. >> short comment. thank you very much for being here. many of your comments and anything, the first spot, by 94,
looking back on old times, 94 which was the pinnacle of hip-hop, everyone looks at that year as being the year. what wasn't so great about that year as well people think about wrapping and bragging raps that existed in the earliest days of hip-hop. there is a lot of condemnation about it. it is always there. i am curious even though it existed, pushed to the forefront in the last decade or so, mcdonald's, making of a rap artist, speaks to the most official aspects and they get talked about a new efforts put in. it wasn't always there. then it becomes the easiest
things to mix things up. it is a really good comment. i was wondering what you have to say about how it became part of the forefront and what was pushed out to represent what hip-hop is. >> a little short. being a child of hip-hop, i am cfo's younger brother, pretty much -- in baltimore, they get back together doing some things. pretty much in the hip-hop culture there is a lot of comparison going on. people of older generations like to compare what is going on today with what we are raised on like the 90s compared to now.
people say the music being produced now is very emasculating to the black man but also when we look at 90s hip-hop it seems it pushed the message of black on black violence. when we say in reference to these particular comparisons, we always dig up the older but i should say wait, they pushed violence among our people. better than this. what i want to know is what are your thoughts on the direction of hip-hop.
are we talking about a reemergence of that? i don't think that is evolution. i don't think that is going forward. that is regressing. if you can give your thoughts on that i would appreciate it. >> very briefly, regarding the conversation about writing and warring against other hip-hop artists i think it behooves us to think about the fact that writing is bleeding. i am writing to show you what we fight, so i would hope we would take it more seriously. hip-hop has its own poetic articulations but writing well is a reward of its own as well. two nights ago, i am a grown professor. had to speak somewhere, got home
at 12:00. because i had to get work done, doesn't stop with being a student, had to give my essay on kobe bryant, i sat up, felt a sense of satisfaction and took a plane here. it is not as sexy as shooting jump shots, might not be spitting on west but incredible integrity of form and adherence to a sense of intelligence it takes to be good at that knowing 100 years after i am dead will appreciation for that register in such a fashion that someone will see the work that equaled the greatest aesthetic effort of our greatest artists and poets, i am making a luddite and anachronistic argument for a certain kind of literacy that takes a hell of a lot of work to
do. i tell you, i have seen -- i am messing up his main argument about the greatest love song of our generation. as soon as you go through that door -- he deconstructs work and begins to talk about the relationship between labor and love. i am against fundamentalists i don't care who you are. hip-hop fundamentalists bore me. the reality is drake is a genius, not because someone else is a genius. j the is a genius as well. so is joe morgan, respect the incredible craft and the only thing that makes me sad is mk asante has not been exposed to a love cipher in academic circles because we too have been marginalized and we reach out to others.
look at the sentence and paragraph here. all the crap, not james baldwin. thank god he is who he is and baldwin is who he is because no one can do what baldwin did but baldwin wasn't writing essays about reparation in the atlantic that could change the political constitution of the rhetoric and dialogue. if you can't understand it the first time they can read it again. [applause] >> i think we call that dropping a mic. okay. i am going to take one answer, closing comment.
for real. >> on that note. you want us to answer the question? >> if you don't you are not going to do that. >> i will take the first one which is about doing hip-hop work in the context of having -- it is really important piece depending how far you want to go, to see your thesis depending how far you want to go with your scholarship, the publishing industry is an industry saturated by the white gays and there is a tricky terrain to not be a translator when you are writing about black culture and people who are reviewing or peer reviewing or determining whether or not it is published or passed are white folks.
i think there are limitations to that in terms of theprofession depending how far you go as a scholar which is to say there is always a time when you are an apprentice in the academy where you have to do their thing, whatever that is. you have to do their stuff. they won't ever do your stuff but they will learn your culture and history, they won't learn your great writers or poets, you got to do their stuff. it is sad that it is this way but you master their terrain and that creates space to do what you are interested in. ..
so knowing some of that stuff will be helpful for that. [applause] >> we are supposed to respond to different questions and so i should have spoken earlier. but i do want to say something about the -- the -- the 90's and hip-hop. as the director of hip-hop archives and classic collection that we are doing in the music library is going to house 200 classic albums as described as classic by producers. so it's all producers in hip-hop that are doing together.
we know that it's going to be more than 200, but right now, but one of the things that you realize because we are looking at everything about culturally muisically, et cetera, that happens around these particular albums and so what you realize as we go through if you look at something like the 90's, first of all, how powerful it is that these albums, before they were low in theory, miseducationally of lauren hill and the instant classic. one of the things that we are doing is going to the history of what was happening when the album came out. we all did what was happening in the world when the samples came out, okay. so we are doing we using hip-hop
culture as a place to create a world that's, you know, education, life, love, you know, everything conceivable. well, clearly the 90's was the height and the growth of gangster rap. and you also have side by side all the other conscious things going on. you really had a mix and what really -- at least from my analyst, i think she did a great job on write of education, miseducation came out and everybody said, we can make money doing this. we can do all of that. it's just like the mix of everything in that album, yes, now is it done -- a number of artists have done some things but the commercial side of it
was like, bam, we can do it and one of the things that we have to realize now that people that make money off of also having the love side are the men. i just want to bring it back to that. what is going on? what's happening? what are we doing wrong because it's us, somewhere it's us and i think we have to think about that. as we get nostalgic, i mean, i loved the 90's, i was on the west coast and i liked it. but the -- but the whole thing is like we really need to keep moving and i really appreciate what diza said, do you want just one person who is degraded and that's it and you don't want to be able to talk about -- no, remember, when jay z were having their thing, he said, this and
then, you know, the level was at, you know, college graduate level, you know what i mean, it was hilarious, beautiful, loving, deep, questioning things, challenging things. that's what we are going after. that's hip-hop. that's the hip-hop i know and understand and as robert killie said, we can't take the fun out of it. >> that's right. >> but it all has to be there. >> i want to just say really quickfully marcie of where are the women, i want to take the moment of where you look at kendra did at grammys and you look at the formation and you look at tin credible level of acceptance that kendra got for that and the level of critique that beyonce got for that. i know that we are trying to find another word for correspondence that is out of
the realm of sheer commercialization, they are -- they're often by other feminists. we have to look at a gender way that female artists come out that critique. >> and we can't act like nicki minaj doesn't exist. he's an incredible mc. she exists and she's out there for people to touch and to mold and to help and to educate, you know. so it's not like -- i just think that she should be recognized. she's an incredible female mc. >> absolute pi r. >> you know, and so i'm sure people had issues with her and at the same time i think she's an important person to talk about. i just want to quick i will say -- but it's been a while.
just to the brother what was asking about where hip-hop is going, you know, i really believe in the resurrection of hip-hop. i'm talking about the resurrection of the most beautiful powerful elements of hip-hop. i'm talking about that enlightening movement. i see resurrection. something you said dr. morgan, i think it's totally in line. you said people start today see not only lauren hill what she was saying but the commercial success. here jay has no radio singles, no features and he's selling the most. he's selling more records than artists who are doing a lot of features, that tells me something about the audience. something thing with kendrick. when we have artists, we use the term the c word, we had those
artists and those artists are commercially successful, it inspires a lot of people, right, because art is like almost like energy, you can go any way with it. we have gun powder and we can celebrate or hammers and start clapping at people. the energy is where we want to put it. when you see kendrick, when you see them achieve success doing something that's positive, being in touch with their emotions, talking about politics, social issue, it inspires you to want to direct your energy toward that, right. so then we have a whole generation of younger artist who is are influenced by that. i remember watching dicing on tv break down, i forget but broke him down really, but seeing that made me realize that i could be